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Committee Examined Ethics Proposals in H.R. 1

Feb 6, 2019
Press Release

TAKEAWAYS

  • Over the past two years, too many officials in the Trump Administration have acted unethically rather than for the benefit of American taxpayers.
  • President Trump set the tone from the top by ignoring the recommendations of ethics experts and refusing to divest his personal financial assets.
  • The Office of Government Ethics should be strengthened so that it can hold Executive Branch officials, including the White House, accountable.
  • H.R. 1 would strengthen the Office of Government Ethics and provide comprehensive reforms to address the shortcomings in the executive branch ethics program.
  • Transparency in our political process is essential to restoring our democracy and ensuring that our government is kept accountable. Walter Shaub said, “We now find ourselves in an ethics crisis that jeopardizes not only public trust in government but also national security.”

BACKGROUND

  • H.R. 1 was introduced by Rep. John Sarbanes on January 3, 2019.  The bill includes a package of reforms to clean up corruption, fight big money in politics, and make it easier for American citizens to vote.  The bill has 227 cosponsors and is endorsed by more than 65 organizations.
  • On February 5, 2019, Chairman Cummings introduced the Transition Team Ethics Improvement Act, with Senator Carper and Senator Warren to enhance the ethics requirements that govern presidential transitions.
  • On January 24, 2019, Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Chairman Jamie Raskin introduced the Executive Branch Comprehensive Ethics Enforcement Act to reauthorize and reform the Office of Government Ethics (OGE).
  • On January 16, 2019, Chairman Cummings introduced the Executive Branch Conflict of Interest Act which would ban senior officials from accepting “golden parachute” payments from private sector employers in exchange for their government service and strengthen ethics rules to prevent senior government officials from taking actions to benefit their former employers or clients.
  • On January 9, 2019, Subcommittee on National Security Chairman Stephen F. Lynch introduced the White House Ethics Transparency Act to require any official who issues a waiver or authorization under President Trump’s Executive Order on ethics to provide a copy of the waiver to OGE within 30 days.

 

WITNESSES

Mr. Scott Amey

General Counsel, Project on Government Oversight

Ms. Karen Hobert Flynn

President, Common Cause

Mr. Rudy Mehrbani

Spitzer Fellow and Senior Counsel, Brennan Center for Justice

Mr. Walter Shaub, Jr.

Senior Advisor, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington

Mr. Bradley A. Smith

Chairman, Institute for Free Speech

 

Videos

Watch Chairman Cummings’ opening statement at today’s hearing.

Watch Rep. John Sarbanes’ question line at today’s hearing.

Watch Rep. Ayanna Pressley’s question line at today’s hearing.

Watch Rep. Jamie Raskin’s question line at today’s hearing.

 

 

 

116th Congress